Underground utility awareness and helping ensure overall safety and damage prevention is very important in this industry. Everyone is accountable for knowing the proper procedures. There are a few myths you should know and use to promote the best practices for underground utility installation.
“Depths of utilities can be assumed”
Truth: Depths are to be taken very seriously and can never be assumed. Depths always need to be carefully measured and must be accurate. Even with familiar depths that you think you know, a utility may raise or dip and that’s an important factor.
“It will never happen to me”
Truth: Being a little too confident can get the best of you. Just because you’ve done something multiple times doesn’t mean it will turn out the same every time. Being lazy or cutting corners to get jobs finished can lead to major consequences. It’s not worth it to jeopardize something just because you’re used to do it.
“Exposing to the depth of the utility is good enough”
Truth: Exposing just to the depth of the utility is not good enough at all. Be sure to always expose to the depth of the intended bore path.
“Just drill deeper to avoid existing utilities”
Truth: Proper preparation is necessary for every job site all the time. Getting carried away and drilling too deep can cause problems for future excavation.
“Sewer lines do not need to be or cannot be located”
Truth: There are many methods that are around for locating sewage lines. Technology is used to make it easier to locate the lines to verify the lines were not breached.
“No locate marks = no utilities”
Truth: Always look for marks and make sure you can find them. If there are no marks to be found it could mean that the utility was not located yet.
“If something happens, 811 is liable”
Truth: 811 does not locate utilities. The excavator has full responsibility to check the locates and make that sure everything has been done correctly.
“Exposing utilities (potholing) is a part of drilling contract price”
Truth: This should never be assumed. Potholing should be separated from the drilling it the quotes.
“We have to accept whatever the caller gives us”
Truth: Not one but both parties of the call center or utility both should go into great detail with all the information. All the information should be 100% accurate and safe locates can be made.
“Electric strike systems are reliable and will predict electric strike.”
Truth: Occasionally if in vicinity of an energized line the system may activate but it is never to be relied on to detect a line before a strike occurs. Again it’s better to be safe than sorry.